Boulaye Dia: Villarreal sign former Reims forward

Boulaye DiaGetty

Reigning Europa League champions Villarreal have announced the signing of Boulaye Dia from Ligue 1 side Reims on Tuesday evening.

The 24-year-old forward teamed up with the Yellow Submarine after representing the Red and Whites for three seasons at the Stade Auguste-Delaune.

Signed for an undisclosed fee, Dia was handed a five-year contract after passing his medical test under the supervision of Asisa, which will keep him at the Spanish elite division side until 2026.

"Villarreal CF have reached a transfer deal with Stade Reims for French-Senegalese striker Boulaye Dia, who will wear yellow for the next five seasons," a statement from the club read.

"Boulaye Dia will already train with his new teammates on Wednesday under Unai Emery at the Sports City.

"At 24, Dia has been one of the sensations of the top French championship, showing himself as a powerful, fast and skilled striker with the ball at his feet."

Blessed with great speed, the African featured in a total of 88 matches for the Red and Whites while finding the net on 28 occasions.

In the 2020-21 campaign, he featured in 36 French elite division games with 14 goals to his credit. However, his team finished 14th in the log after garnering 42 points from 38 outings.

Following his move to Estadio de la Ceramica, the Senegalese star becomes the third African in Unai Emery's squad. Others include Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria) and Aissa Mandi (Algeria). 

Dia is likely to make his debut when Villarreal take on Valencia during Friday's pre-season outing.

Born in Oyonnax, France, the youngster began his career at Jura Sud in 2017 before moving to Reims II a season later.

Thanks to his impressive displays, he was promoted to the club’s first team where he impressed under manager Oscar Garcia.

On the international scene, he was invited by coach Aliou Cisse to represent the Lions of Teranga on October 1, 2020. Eight days later, he made his bow in the West African side’s 3-1 defeat to Morocco.

With his country taking part in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, Dia is expected to be listed as Senegal chase their maiden African title.

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